Sivut kuvina

our rational fellow creatures' : The most extensive charity always influences à mind, sufficiently instructed, and heroically practiled in fubduing ex centric affections..; ;

. For All things are endued with an appetite to two kinds of goods the one, as a thing is a whole in itself; the other, as it is a part of some greater whole; and this latter is more worthy and more powerful than the other, as it tends to the conservation of a more ample form. The first may be called individual or selfgood, and the latter good 'of Communion. Iron by a particular property moves to the load-ftone ; bat if the iron be heavy it drops its affection to the load-stone and tends to the earth which is the proper region of such ponderous bodies. Again, the dende and heavy bodies tend to the earth, yet rather than nature will suffer a separation in the continuity of things, and leave a vacuum, as they speak, these heavy bodies will be carried upwards, and forego their affection to the earth, to perform their office to the world. , And thus it generally happens, that the conservation of the more general form regulates the leffer appetites. But this prerogative of the good of communion is more particularly impressed upon man, if he be not degenerate, according to that remarkable saying of Pompey, who being governour of the citypurveyance, at a time of famine in Rome, and intreated by his friends not to venture to sea, whilft a violent form was impending, answered, my going is necesary, but not my life. So that the desire of life, which is greatest in the individual, did not with him out-weigh his affection and fidelity to the state. But no phi. losophy, sect, 'religion,' law or discipline, in any age, has so highly exalted the good of communion, and so far depressed the good of individuals as the christian faith. Whence it may plainly appear that one and the fame God gave those laws of nature to che creatures, and the christian law to men. And hence we read that some of the elcct and holy men, in an exstasy of charity, and impatient desire of the good of Communion rather wished their names blotted out of the book of life, than that their brethren should miss of salvation. Francis Bacon. Inftaur. Ethics. W

** He says also in his new machine.. - The canons or rules of predominances should be collected : As for example, that the more common the good, which is defir. ed, the stronger the motion; and that the motion of connection wbich regards the communion of the universe, is stronger than the motion of gravity, which regards the communion of dense bodies. Again that the appetites of a private good do not generally prevail against the appetites of a more public good, unless in smalt quantities, and it were to be wished this allo obtained in civil af. fairs.'

[ocr errors]

T OR is not divine Grace, in the spiritual world,

analogous to Attraction, in the material world? And is not the good man kept steady in his pious course thereby, notwithstanding the frequent ats tempts of revulsion, the rubs and collisions which he meets with, that like comets cross the orbit of vertue, and threaten ruin? The planetary paths tho' reguJar, are not so strictly so, but that the interfere. ing of attractions will in time produce such irregularities, as to seem to require the divine interpolition : So the ordinary portion of grace being not sufficient in some cases for the success of heroic vertue, the divine spirit interposes with an extraor: dinary aid, and proclaims, my grace is sufficient for thee.

H É Analogy between the infinite divine Spi. Trit or HOLY GHOST, and the UNIVERSAL Æther or elemental Fire, may properly be treated next. Because as the mechanic philosophers make the Æther the cause of attraction, muscular motion and other extraordinary phænomena of matter: So is the HOLY GHOST the cause of all spis'itual conduct, which is consonant to the divine Law.

It is extremely agreeable, and worth while, to il lustrate the comfortable part of the last revelation of the will of God to man, the universal presence and influence of the divine Spirit and Comforter, by á similitude drawn from the material world.

For there being but one author of the universe, his wisdom is in all things wonderful when understood, and the wisdom shining forth in the different class fes of his work, have a great degree of likeness. Human nature is like the Divinity, the instinct of brutes is very like the most perfect reason of man,' and the laws of matter are not unlike the brutal inftincts.

: : : The

The universal presence therefore of the divine Spirit, and Comforter, may be illustrated by the universal Æther or fire of the universe. Especially since the Bible chuses to make the first step of the comparison, by telling us, that Jesus Christ should baptize with Fire, that is, with the Holy Ghost, and thac the HOLY GHOST descended in the visible ap. pearance of Fire.

The properties of elemental fire or Æther are already so well exprest, by an eminent philosopher and divine, that his language shall be pretty nearly used ; though his purpose of writing did not lead him to make that comparison, for the sake of which, some of his philosophical sentiments are here used. But this analogy may be hereafter more beautifully made, when the experiments concerning the Æ. ther, in the wonderful phænomena of Electricity, shall have opened to the human mind many secrets of nature, wherein the Æther is the principal instrument for divine intelligence to work with. ; “ Fire is the universal fountain of life, order, “ distinction, stability and beauty of the universe. “ It is not only in the fun and other heavenly bo“ dies, but it makes part of every lump of matter “ upon, and in our Globe ; it may be struck ouc “ of the hardest masses, and is discovered in the “ deepest caverns; the very water, which is gene. “ rally supposed to extinguish it, does also retain 6C it, as appears from the flashing of waves in the " times of a storm ; it exists even in the darkest « caverns, as is' evident from hence, that many « animals fee in the dark, and fire may be kindled « in chem, by the collision of bodies. Gold is «c no more than mercury with abundance of light " or fire in it, as appears from an experiment.

Fire mixes with all bodies, and its operations “ are various according to its kind, quantity, and « degree of vehemence. As it mixes with water,

" onc

“one degree of it keeps water fluid, another de. to gree of it turns it into elastic air. For water “ becomes vapour by the means of fire; and air is " nothing but vapour and exhalations rendered " elastic by fire.. ." This mighty agent, is every where at hand, “ ready to break forth into action, if not restrain“ ed by other things. Being always in motion, it “ actuates and enlivens the whole visible mass of “ the world, it distinguishes the various stages of 6 nature, and keeps up the perpetual round of "" generations. So quick in its motions, fo subtle ” and penetrating in its nature, so extensive in its « effects, it seemeth no other than the VEGETA: 66 TIVE Soul and VITAL SPIRIT of the world. · Now, is not the HOLY GHOST in the spiritual world, what this elementary fire is in the material ? · For although fire be in all matter, yet it is more abundant in some parts, which have a stronger at: traction than others : It remains in that union, till attraction is weakened by the proximity of some other matter , then follows a disruption of parts, and a destruction of form. The Holy Ghost is in every part of the moral world, and intimate to every member of it, but he is more largely communicated to those, who by ftrong religious affections invite liim; he stays with them, till the affections of the world taking place, he is no longer a welcome guest, but leaves them to be hurried into ruin ; so true it is, that the last state of these men is worse than the first. As in the material world a man may fit in the cold, although he has a flint and combustible matter near him, if through perverle. ness he will not ftrike fire ; so in the fpiritual world ; if we not only neglect. to pray for the help of the Holy Ghost, but also study to avoid all offers of his favour, we are indeed insensible of the benefits of his presence, but that we are fo, is entirely our


own faults. Has he not been extremely active in che confervation of religion and pure morals in the world, since the first brooding: b of the divine spirit upon the waters in the chaos, to the remarkable effusion upon the Apostles in the form of fiery tongues, and the less astonishing conveyance of his influence to this day? And was not the Æther, or elemental fire, a principal inttrument in the conservation of the material world, from old chaos to the present time? Are not many of the wonderful phæ. nomena of Fire, very late revelations to mankind by the study of fagacious men ? And is it not in many phænomena a principal instrument, where the bulk of mankind, being negligent of the wonderful order of nature, do not think of it, or acknowledge it? And as the studious in the phænomena of matter find out, and assent to the utility of the Ætherial fire, so the religious in the spiritual world, study to find out the holy Spirit, and feel his influence. He does not perhaps come upon them now in a visible appearance, they may neither hear the sound of a mighty wind, nor yet fee fire flaming in the shape of cloven tongues, but they may feel him inwardly, and enjoy his comfortable influence in a secret manner. In short the spiritual world is no less beholden to the univerfal Holy Spirit, than the material world to the universal Ætherial Fire.

Thus can inert matter furnish us with leffons of spiritual knowledge, and seems to speak to mankind, as reasonable and religious creatures, in a very instructive manner. The subject is worth enlarging

[ocr errors]

b So many interpret the word merachepeth, implying brooding, incubation or hatching. The translators of the Syriac express · it, by incubabat.

A late writer tells us it is only found elsewhere, Deut: 32. 11, Jer. 23. 9. In which places it fignifies different kinds of motion, and that in Genesis it means, that the spirit of God caused the face of the waters to move, by giving the globe a motion upon ito axis.


« EdellinenJatka »